Blog #5 – War of the Worlds

Quick Thought: Talk about an epic hoax/prank. The backstory is just as fascinating as the broadcast. This is the quintessential example of power’s power, influence, and reach. Welles would parlay the success of the WotW broadcast into one of the most controversial careers in Hollywood.

Read Both Articles:

Videos below: Choose 1 LONG one, 1 SHORT ONE (make sure to reference in post)

Go into your room or wherever, and listen to Mercury Theater/Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds in full. Mercury Theater or Youtube works. It’s 57 minutes long. If the link doesn’t work — it’s easy to look it up online and listen to (book here, for reference).

I want you to do a running commentary on the entire thing. Step by step, minute by minute… or big moment by big moment.

Pretend you are alive when this is happening – I think it could be interesting considering what is happening right now.

Try to understand or see why people freaked out and why they did what they did. Would you fall for it? Why do you think people fell for it?

Use the Understanding Media & Culture in answering questions or expanding on your answers. Watch any of the newscasts or videos about War of the Worlds (on website). Also, do some research, you’ll see this is not just an American thing… it’s actually happened in other places.


Listen to the whole thing… because it is awesome.

Put yourself in the 1938, and hearing this on the radio. I know it’s difficult but try to place yourself there — it’ll help.

How would you react? How did the people listening react? Think about the power of the voice aspect… would this ever happen today? Maybe not radio but in general. Have you ever fallen for a hoax? Or something like this?

Why do you believe the creators did WoW in such a manner? What do you think they were trying to do and why?

Also, use the textbook and some of those theories — similar to previous post.

Make sure to point out “best moments” — make sure to put in the times… Example: Best moments 1:24-150

And of course — discuss why you chose those moments.

Can you relate this to anything going on today? Would people fall for it, etc.

Word Count: 750 words… or more if you want!

Long Pieces:

Orson Welles – The Untold Story Behind The War Of The Worlds

The Night America Trembled 1957 – H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds 50th Anniversary TV coverage 1988

Short Pieces:
The original ‘fake news’? ‘War of the Worlds’ at 80

Orson Welles apologizes for the The War of the Worlds’ mass panic

AT&T Operators Recall War of the Worlds Broadcast – AT&T Archives